Three years start-up, Pinterest, an online online picture board has raised $100 million from a group of investors led by Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc in a deal that reportedly values the three-year-old U.S. company at $1.5 billion.

Pinterest joins the club of companies such Instagram, Evernote, Dropbox, Airbnb and Square which have reached or exceeded the US$1-billion evaluation mark.

The social photo-sharing site has experienced phenomenal growth in the past few months, doubling its number of daily unique visitors to 4 million since January.

Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten said: “While some may see e-commerce as a straightforward vending machine-like experience, we believe it is a living process where both retailers and consumers can communicate, discover, and curate to make the experience more entertaining. We see tremendous synergies between Pinterest’s vision and Rakuten’s model for e-commerce. Rakuten looks forward to introducing Pinterest to the Japanese market as well as other markets around the world.”

Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, said: “Our goal is to help people discover things they love, by connecting people through their shared interests. Bringing Rakuten on board gives us an amazing opportunity to move a step closer to this goal.”

  • Pinterest has crossed 20 million users last month.
  • It is now 16th most-visited site in the United States.
  • Some existing Pinterest investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and FirstMark Capital as well as some angel investors.
  • Pinterest consists of members “pinning” photos of stuff they’re interested in or like, which other people can peruse for free.

So, Why bother with new networks – social networks built on social networks?

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